04 March 2016
The commemoration of Foundation Day highlights the First Fleet story from March 1788 and reminds us of the strong connections of Norfolk Island's settlement history with the rest of the Australian story.
Foundation Day commemorates the arrival of Lt Phillip Gidley King on Norfolk Island. On 6 March 1788, King raised the British flag at what was known at the time as Sydney Bay settlement, the area we now call Kingston on Norfolk Island. The Governor of the New South Wales Colony Arthur Phillip had done the same almost six weeks earlier on the mainland at Sydney Cove.
This is part of the tale of the two Sydneys.
The infrastructure built during this time laid the foundations for the second, third settlements and indeed, our community today.
There were the Piers and it is also said the oldest, continuously used and still in use, public road route in our nation is on this Island—Middlegate and Cascade Roads. In the 1790s it was known as the Sydney-Phillipsburgh Road connecting the settlement at Sydney (now Kingston) with the equally historic but now abandoned Phillipsburgh settlement near Cascade.
Over the three decades of the first British settlement, the community grew to be similar in size to today's permanent population. Whilst small in numbers, Norfolk Island proved to be the difference for the other and bigger Sydney by providing for the food needs of the growing settlement on the mainland.
The history of the settlement on Norfolk Island is important and part of Australian history. We continue to share a close link with New South Wales.
As part of our culturally diverse community, many modern day residents of Norfolk Island proudly boast their direct family connection with these pioneers of Australia here on Norfolk Island.
The thirst for knowledge of the history of Norfolk Island is also at the heart of why so many come from the mainland to visit this part of Australia 228 years after Lt Phillip Gidley King and his small party of settlers first arrived here.
The Hon Gary Hardgrave